Australian Open: Rafael Nadal embarks on new journey without Uncle Toni

Roger Federer

While pleased at his progress, Djokovic, who has dropped to 14 in the world, admitted he still had work to do ahead of the opening Grand Slam of the year.

It forced him to skip the lead-up Brisbane International this month, and he has only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic in Melbourne ahead of the Grand Slam starting Monday.

"Although it's not entirely different. even those small changes have made a lot of difference", he said.

"The legs feel good so it's all about putting it in on the court now".

Agassi had to modify his own service motion because of a wrist injury in his career and he had input into the redesign for Djokovic.

The Serbian will likely come up against athletic Frenchman Gael Monfils in the second round and may have to overcome fourth seed Alexander Zverev and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka just to book a semi-final against Roger Federer.

Injuries to leading players have been a focus of attention in Australia.

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In recent months, meanwhile, ATP Finals victor Grigor Dimitrov and Zverev have moved up to No. 3 and No. 4 in the rankings, respectively, and are growing in confidence that they're on the cusp of Grand Slam breakthroughs.

Last year's quarterfinalist Johanna Konta is in the same quarter as Halep and faces American Madison Brengle first up. "Not trying to sound cocky or anything, but I've always said that I've always been working hard physically, I'm always trying to improve the performance at the Grand Slams".

"I thought I had everything under control but then after that first set, everything kind of slipped away from me", Dimitrov said.

Since he pulled out of the ATP Tour Finals with knee injury in November, 2017, Nadal has not played a single competitive match.

"It's the first time I am here without playing an official match in my career. I've done really everything in my power, with a team of people around me, to enable me to be right here and to compete in Australian Open". "He's my uncle", Nadal told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Nadal look fit and agile while defeating Thiem and said he felt "good" and was "more or less" playing well.

Pundits have tipped 17th seed Kyrgios, who opens against unheralded Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva, to go deep in this tournament but the Australian trotted out the well-worn cliche of "one game at a time". "When something is happening, you need to analyze why".

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